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It is a perennial succulent spurge, an erect shrub plant. The shrub can grow to 1.8 - 2.4 m in height and generally is about 18 - 46 to 61 cm in width. The leaf is a simple angiosperm leaf, arranged oppositely on the stem. Each leaf is sessile (attaching directly to the plant), and about 3.6 - 7.6 cm in length. The leaves are glabrous (smooth) and acuminate in shape, with entire (smooth) edges. The veins in the leaves are pinnate.
It is native to tropical and subtropical North America and Central America. It prefers soil that is sandy, well-drained, and nutrient-rich, particularly with higher concentrations of boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. It is relatively intolerant of high soil salinity levels, but exhibits saline tolerance if well fertilized. The plant tends to be taller and have more biomass if it is well-watered.The plant requires a sunny area to grow in.
Other names: buck-thorn, cimora misha, Christmas Candle, Fiddle Flower, ipecacuahana, Jacob's Ladder, Japanese Poinsettia, Jew's Slipper, Jewbush, Milk-Hedge, Myrtle-Leaved Spurge, Padus-Leaved Clipper Plant, Red Slipper Spurge, Redbird Cactus, Redbird Flower, Slipper Flower, Slipper Plant, Slipper Spurge, timora misha, and Zig-Zag Plant. In other parts of the world, it is known as gin-ryu (Japan); pokok lipan and penawar lipan (Indonesia); airi, baire, and agia (India); aperejo (Yoruba); sapatinho do diablo (Brazil); itamo real (Puerto Rico); pantoufle (France); and zapatilla del diablo (Mexico).